Bass, ’togs pro­vid­ing an­glers with record hauls

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports -

Over the past six days, lo­cal and dis­tant sport fish­ing has gone into over­drive. In the nu­clear power sta­tion Lake Anna, west of Fred­er­icks­burg, Va., a bass fish­ing-tour­na­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion known as Fish­ers for Men con­ducted its first con­test of the year that would al­low two con­tes­tants in each boat to en­ter only five bass. As the weigh-in was held at Stur­geon Creek Ma­rina, the five­fish catch of Keith Estes, of Spring Grove, Va., and Don­ald Estes, of Hen­rico, Va., turned out to weigh 27.69 pounds, which in­cluded two large­mouth bass that tipped the scales at more than 6 pounds. This win­ning catch turned out to be an all-time, five­bass lake record.

Now, along comes Tide­wa­ter fish­ing den­tist, Dr. Ken Neill, whose salt­wa­ter ex­ploits are known along the mid­dle At­lantic coast. As he left a Virginia Beach ma­rina last Sun­day to go af­ter tau­togs that are found hid­ing in off­shore wrecks, Neill even­tu­ally tied into some­thing that seemed to weigh far more than the usual tau­tog that av­er­ages 3 to 6 pounds. A brag­ging-size ‘tog, as it’s fre­quently called, per­haps goes as high as 15 pounds. What Neill had on the end of his line was a po­ten­tial state-record tau­tog. It weighed 24 pounds, 3 ounces and mea­sured 32 inches long. When the ap­pli­ca­tion is ap­proved by Virginia fish­ing of­fi­cials, it will be the lat­est tau­tog state record — a ver­i­ta­ble gi­ant as far as the species is con­cerned.

Lo­cally, boaters and shore­line an­glers who seek their fa­vorite quarry, the large­mouth bass, are do­ing well in the Po­tomac River be­tween the Dis­trict and down-river por­tions in Charles County, Md., or Prince Wil­liam County, Va. Although the first few days of the week were windy and many boaters chose to stay in safer wa­ters, all the feeder creeks turned up ex­cel­lent catches.

Be it the Pomon­key, Mat­ta­woman, Chi­ca­muxen, Oc­co­quan, Pow­ell, Quan­tico or Aquia, all will de­liver the goods on a va­ri­ety of crankbaits, rat­tle lures, soft plas­tics, oc­ca­sion­ally even sur­face lures. In ad­di­tion, Chi­nese snake­heads are mov­ing about, and crap­pies are be­gin­ning to bunch up in an­tic­i­pa­tion of spawn­ing sea­son.

For fans of shad catch-and-re­lease fish­ing, the Po­tomac at Fletcher’s Cove in Ge­orge­town, the Susque­hanna River above Havre de Grace, Md., (in­clud­ing Deer Creek), and Virginia’s Rap­pa­han­nock River in the Fred­er­icks­burg sec­tor pro­vide fair to good chances of hook­ing hick­ory and Amer­i­can shad. Just be cer­tain to let your catches go. They’re pro­tected and can­not be kept. The Fletcher’s stretch of the Po­tomac also shows blue and chan­nel cat­fish, as well as a few white perch and stripers. Boat rentals are avail­able.

In the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, most ev­ery­body awaits the start of the striped bass tro­phy sea­son that be­gins April 21 and runs through May 15. Pri­vate boaters and char­ter boat cap­tains al­ready are check­ing the wa­ters, but they won’t get real se­ri­ous un­til next month. Mean­while, in the low­est parts of the Ch­e­sa­peake, tau­togs up to 6 pounds are hang­ing around the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay BridgeTun­nel tubes, the Con­crete Ships on the east­ern side of the Bay and all of the sunken wrecks. Don’t for­get that the lo­cals in the lower Bay have be­gun the black drum watch. Big black drum will be caught be­fore you know it.

Fans of floun­der fish­ing can make plans to visit Oys­ter, Quinby and Wachapreague wa­ters on Virginia’s East­ern Shore. Some of the more skilled floun­der hunters al­ready have scored. There also are ru­mors that some of the East­ern Shore’s bar­rier is­land chan­nels and deep ditches have de­liv­ered strikes from chan­nel bass (red­fish). It’s a bit early, but this has been a strange March.

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